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Can Foster Beat Oberweis on Turnout?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 29, 2008 7:00PM

With the special election for Dennis Hastert's vacant 14th Congessional District seat coming up next Saturday, the race has heated up. Democrat Bill Foster has hit Jim Oberweis almost daily, pointing out the differences on Social Security, global trade, and the war in Iraq. Oberweis has fought back, calling Foster a liberal and a liar, and charging that he will raise taxes. The close race got even more interesting this week when Foster released recent internal polling indicating that he leads Oberweis in the race. Now Foster is claiming that Oberweis violated the so-called "Millinoare's Law", by failing to disclose that he was about to dump buckets of his own cash into the race.

And while all of that matters to the race, so will turnout. Foster, in his first campaign for political office, is still trying to find his voice on the campaign trail, but doesn't come unprepared. What Foster lacks in experience as a candidate, he makes up for in GOTV experience. Foster worked on Patrick Murphy's challenge to incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in suburban Philadelphia. In fact, Foster was the genius behind Murphy's win, engineering a sophisticated get-out-the-vote effort. Foster wrote a software program that some credit with the narrow win in that district. "He helped us crack the code and figure out where we needed to go and how to do it really efficiently," Nat Binns, a spokesman for Murphy's campaign told Eric Zorn. "It was brilliant. We were able to knock on 140,000 doors on Election Day, which was a big part of why we won."

No matter who wins next Saturday, Foster and Oberweis will have a rematch in November. And while the winner will take steps to try to change the political landscape after March 8, it's a given that the loser will try to make up for the mistakes and shortfalls of this race.